Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches

Text for Page 012

              [newspaper clipping]
  A PAINFUL CASE.�In the case of Francis C. Sex-
ton, on trial at Newark for the alleged rape upon the
person of a Miss Wood of New-York, A. V. Schenck;
esq., on Monday, summed up for the defence.  He
alluded to the importance of the case to his client as
involving his liberty, honor, and the peace of more
than one loving heart.  He then paid a tribute to the
just administration of law in New-Jersey, but said,
while we should do justice, we should also guard
against parties from other States using it to gratify
their petty spites.  He then alluded to the appearance
of the complainant, and that she was calculated to
excite sympathy, but only by the evidence.  The
State must prove physical force, and want of consent.
  He then reviewed the testimony to show wherein the
State has failed, alleging that there was no proof of
want of consent, nor of physical force, except by her
statement alone.  The surrounding circumstances do
not indicate this, but rather the contrary; and the
alleged violence was committed in a public place,
where outcry could be heard.  He then reviewed the
testimony, showing wherein she was contradicted by
other witnesses, and contending that her actions were
such as to indicate that it was at most only an aggra-
vated case of seduction.
  The counsel pleaded that the prisoner was entitled
to every legal doubt, and argued that the complain-
ant was previously a theater-going character, and was
not such an innocent girl as the State assumed.  He
closed his speech with an earnest appeal to the Jury
to abide solely by the evidence, and not to be influ-
enced by any sympathy, and give the defendant the
benefit of any doubt.
  Courtlandt Parker, esq., the proceeded to sum up
on the part of the State.  He proceeded to show the
importance of the case, not only to the prisoner, but
also to the public, stating that if the Jury found by
the evidence that the offense had been committed, it 
was a duty they owed to themselves, their wives, their
daughters and society, to convict the defendant.  He
then portrayed the course of the prisoner in seducing
the complainant from home�like a serpent fixing his
basilisk eyes upon a poor bird; the bird flutters and
flies nearer and nearer the serpent, until at last it comes
within reach of its fangs and is sacrificed.
  He then proceeded to examine the evidence, show-
ing wherein and by whom contradicted.  He paid a hand-
some tribute to the manner in which the complainant
had stood her examination.  He said that he did not
contend that she had acted prudently, but he did con-
tend that she left home with a man and came to this
city without an idea of wrong, relying implicitly on the
prisoner as being a naval officer�one from a class of
men whom she respected and loved, from which class
she had received a proposal of marriage.  He showed
how, having entrapped her here, his honor as a naval
officer was pledged and violated by the prisoner.
  He contended that subsequent consent to the rav-
isher was not an excuse for him, but that in this case
it only aggravated the wrong, as showing how he
played on her feelings, still striving to induce her
young and confiding heart to lean on him so that he
could further gratify his passion.  Mr. Parker closed by
an earnest appeal to the Jury to consider well the evi-
dence in connection with her confiding character, and
stated that he could not think how they could fail to
convict.
  The Judge charged the Jury briefly.  He stated the
law in this case and reviewed the evidence.  He told
the Jury to weigh well the evidence, as the importance
of the case demands a fair and impartial hearing for
both sides.
  The Jury retired at 7 o�clock p.m., and returned at
about 9 p.m. with a verdict of �Guilty.�
  On the reaction of the verdict the prisoner was
very much affected, and his wife, who was also in
Court [words cut off] be completely overcome.               
  •  
Loading content ...